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Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

By Jesse Utz 

Road trip

 


Sometimes you never know where your road trip will take you. The plan was to head to Conconully, Washington, to see their annual Independence Day Celebration. We had a plan when we went to bed on Friday, but Saturday morning had its own time schedule.

It started with a loud boom that shook the house at about 5:30 a.m. In that half-asleep, half-awake state, I assumed it was a firework, but soon realized I was awake and something was not right. As I got up to investigate, I soon realized that everything was OK — except we had no power. I called the PUD to advise them and learned I was caller number one, but did not win a prize. A decision was made to head out earlier than we had planned. No power was our sign to get on the road.

After a coffee stop and gas-up, we headed to our destination, deciding that the lower river road was our travel choice in the early hours and we were rewarded. Not far down the road along the Columbia, we spotted a large golden eagle. Never missing a photo op, we got out and clicked away. We soon realized that on the cliff behind us was a bald eagle, as well. They posed, I etched them in the memory of the Canon. It was a great start.

By the time we got to Omak, we knew we were early and ahead of schedule, so we hit the yard-sale circuit.

After we scored a few treasures and found ourselves on the road we needed to be on, we were Conconully-bound again. It had been years since we had been to this special little town. But this time, as we pulled into town it was packed with cars and the main drag was closed for the festivities of the day. A little walking was in order.

We found our destination to watch the parade and the wild west shootout, but only after talking to a few great community members and purchasing a cast iron wok, giant apple pie, two ducks for the duck race, two giant German sausages, two raffle tickets for a restored antique bicycle, and casting a vote for the People’s Choice in the car show. We settled into our yellow camp chairs with smiley faces on them, and us, and tried to keep the summer sun at bay.

I knew my cousin, Patty, was going to be there with her husband, Jim Detro. He is running for another term as Okanogan County commissioner, and he had his name on T-shirts everywhere in town. We spotted her and had a great talk. We then spotted Karen Payne, long-time Coulee Resident who is now transplanted in this little town. We visited a while, and then a local gang showed up: The Barney Gang. They have shown up in many places over the years in Eastern Washington and it always ends up in a shootout. It did again.

This year, they had a few new twists and turns to their show, but again the saloon girls showed they were smarter than the rest of the gang and walked away with the loot. Very dramatic performances by all. It was good to see old friends dressed in their fancy Old West duds, doing what they loved.

As we headed home, we decided to show the saloon girls a couple of our favorite spots in Omak. I mean, they did have a couple bags of loot with them. So we stopped by Nana’s Nook and showed them a couple of treasures that worked there. We then headed to the little Mexican restaurant on Omak’s main drag. It was fun to see the faces when two saloon girls walked in to dine. But Karrie and I got a huge treat when, later, some of our favorite kids walked in. Junior, Misti, Charlie, Aiyana, Roxanne and Paladine all were there enjoying their summer, as well. It was good to see their faces and smiles.

Sometimes our plans don’t always work out, but God’s plan does. It was a great day spent with even greater people. If our timing had been different, we would have missed little gifts along the way. Eagles, yard sales, old friends, family and precious smiles were etched in our hearts on this road trip. If we had gone on our own timing we might have missed it all, but we responded to God’s timing and he had treasures stashed along the way for us. It was a great day and the pie was amazing.

Oh, and late-breaking news: Karrie’s duck won the race. Figures.

I’m Jess saying.

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